Plays by Dawn King


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Dawn King's play Ciphers is a thriller about spies, double agents, and the opaqueness of the human soul. It was first produced by Out of Joint, the Bush Theatre and Exeter Northcott Theatre, and first performed at Exeter Northcott Theatre on 16 October 2013 before touring the UK.

Justine is a British Intelligence Officer. She is pursuing Kareem, a youth worker, whom she believes may have information on a suspected terrorist living in the UK. But when Justine is found dead in mysterious circumstances, her sister Kerry sets out to find out what happened and stumbles into a world of secrets and subterfuge that make her question who Justine really was.

The play's exploration of the fluidity of personal identity is heightened by the use of doubling in production, particularly the doubling of Justine and Kerry, who the script stipulates should be played by the same actor.

The premiere production was directed by Blanche McIntyre and designed by James Perkins. It was performed by Bruce Alexander, Ronny Jhutti, Gráinne Keenan and Shereen Martin. The production subsequently toured to Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham; Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol; Oxford Playhouse; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh; Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry; Bush Theatre, London and Salisbury Playhouse.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Dawn King's play Foxfinder is a dystopian parable exploring belief, desire and responsibility, set in a world both strange and familiar. It won the Papatango New Writing Competition in 2011 and was first performed at the Finborough Theatre, London, on 29 November 2011.

William Bloor, a ‘foxfinder’, arrives at Samuel and Judith Covey’s farm to investigate a suspected contamination. He is driven by his education and beliefs to unearth and destroy an animal that threatens man’s civilisation, and to remain free from its influence himself. As his investigations proceed, the events that follow change the course of all their lives, forever.

The Finborough premiere was directed by Blanche McIntyre and designed by James Perkins, with Gyuri Sarossy as Samuel, Kirsty Besterman as Judith, Tom Byam Shaw as William and Becci Gemmell as Sarah.

The play was widely praised for its originality. Michael Billington in The Guardian described it as ‘the most compelling new work I have seen this year.’ King was named Most Promising Playwright at the Off West End Theatre Awards in 2012 and was the inaugural winner of the National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award, the successor to the Meyer-Whitworth Award. The play has since been professionally produced in Australia, Sweden and America.

Picture of Dawn King

© Matt Hobbs

Dawn King’s debut play Foxfinder (Finborough Theatre, 2011) was the winner of the Papatango Theatre Company new writing competition, the James Tait Black drama prize and the National Foundation Playwright Award and won King the Off West End award for Most Promising Playwright. The play has since been produced around the world including in Australia, America and Sweden.

Other plays include Doghead Boy and Sharkmouth Go To Ikea (The Junction, 2006); The Bitches’ Ball (Hoxton Hall, 2006); Face Value (Stephen Joseph Theatre, 2007); Water Sculptures/ZOO double bill (Union Theatre, 2008) and Ciphers (Out of Joint/Exeter Northcott Theatre/Bush Theatre UK tour, 2013-14).

Dawn was one of the 10 writers chosen for the BBC Writersroom scheme in 2012 and she also participated in the Channel Four television-writing scheme, 4 Screenwriting, in 2013. She writes regularly for radio and has had plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 4 Extra and BBC Radio 3. Her film work includes the short film The Kármán Line (BFI/Fortune Films, 2014).